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A small collection of interesting archived Dáil debates

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  • A small collection of interesting archived Dáil debates

    Just thought I'd post up a few interesting snippets of discussions in Dáil:


    Some regarding the Air Corps
    [455] 46. Dr. Byrne asked the Minister for Defence whether the British Government have offered the Irish Government a squadron of Gnat jet fighters.

    Mr. G. Collins (for the Minister for Defence) Mr. G. Collins (for the Minister for Defence)

    Mr. G. Collins (for the Minister for Defence): The answer to the question is “No”.
    Regarding the Navy
    Dr. Byrne: You cannot learn all about sailing by just going out in Dublin Bay. The Parliamentary Secretary was a fair weather sailor. He went across Dublin Bay as far as Howth. You will not learn anything about a minesweeper doing that. You will not learn anything about weather conditions doing that. I suggest that he should listen to the forecast and he might learn a little about the weather and what gales are.

    Mr. Andrews Mr. Andrews

    Mr. Andrews: The Deputy said the vessels were satisfactory.

    Dr. Byrne Dr. Byrne

    2247

    Dr. Byrne: I hope the Parliamentary Secretary knows where Dunmore East is because it is a very important fishing [2247] ground and a very important area for these vessels to patrol. You come out of Haulbowline and straight into a south-westerly gale. That is why there is no fishery patrol. The vessels, good and all as they are, were never designed to sweep mines, to operate in unfavourable weather conditions. One of them was damaged in transit from Gibraltar.

    Criticism is not any use unless one has an alternative to offer; so, the Government should investigate immediately the possibility of purchasing from the US Navy some of their all-weather motor torpedo boats which have a speed of 27 knots, which can go out in any weather and which would provide this country, if sufficient were purchased, with a naval force capable of patroling the coast and giving protection to the fishermen.

    Regarding Timoney APC's:
    Mr. Dowling Mr. Dowling

    Mr. Dowling: Is it the intention to produce the Timoney Army personnel carriers here in view of the fact that they are internationally acclaimed, there is a demand for them and £178,000 has already been spent on their development?

    Mr. Donegan Mr. Donegan

    1976

    Mr. Donegan: We do not know whether or not there is a demand for them yet. We hope there will be. It would be the intention to help Professor Timoney in every possible way. The Department have so far helped to the extent of an expenditure of £178,000, subject to correction and without going to my file, on three prototypes and at the point in time when real interest will be shown in the way of purchase then we would try to help Professor Timoney in every [1976] possible way, but we do not want to intrude on his rights. We have our rights, having spent the money to produce the prototype vehicle, and he has his rights as the person who evolved the vehicle.

    Mr. Dowling Mr. Dowling

    Mr. Dowling: Is the Minister aware that this vehicle has been advertised in an international magazine as being made in a factory in Bornem in Belgium? There is in the magazine a photograph of the Timoney personnel armoured carrier in which this State has invested £178,000 and we now find these vehicles are being manufactured in Belgium for distribution on the Continent and elsewhere.

    Mr. Donegan Mr. Donegan

    Mr. Donegan: No.

    Mr. Dowling Mr. Dowling

    Mr. Dowling: Surely at a time when there is high unemployment here, every effort should be made to ensure the development of this vehicle at home to provide much needed employment.
    Some more Air Corps stuff - from the late 1950's
    As I have said, the people in England from whom these planes were bought decided that these Vampires were only a passing phase. The Vampire jet that we bought is as obsolete to-day as the Model T. Ford. The Vampire jet that we bought had a top speed of 600 m.p.h. Within a month of the delivery of these planes, jet planes in Britain were doing double that speed. I think it would be safe to say at the moment that jet planes are becoming obsolete even though they have a speed of 5,000 m.p.h. If we want a jet to-morrow morning we can go to America and buy an American Starfire F.81 jet. It will cost us £1,500,000. We can go to Britain and buy a Hawker Hunter jet fighter off the assembly line at £250,000.

    1464

    Is it suggested that the training [1464] being received in the Vampire jet we bought, with a maximum speed of 600 m.p.h., will be suitable training for men asked to man the faster type of plane? If we go into the purchase of jets and buy those that can fly at 600 m.p.h., surely the logical step is to go on purchasing better and better jets? And all for prestige. It is like keeping up with the Joneses.

    I do not think it is unfair to suggest to the House that we should have an inquiry into the purchase of these planes. I do not think it is unfair to suggest that that £1,000,100 would have been far better spent on Shannon for commercial operations so that we could reap the benefit of any change taking place in regard to companies that fly over Shannon.

    Taking the defence position as a whole, I think it is impossible to justify the expenditure of £6,000,000 this year on a stone age defensive system while men are already preparing for a flight to the moon. I do not personally suggest that the Army should be abolished. I have no personal objection to the idea of a standing Army of a reasonable size. It is quite possible such an army is necessary for internal security, but I challenge the idea of basing our defence on a standing Army of 12,500 men, armed with conventional weapons and with out-dated equipment.
    Mr. O'Hara asked the Minister for Defence whether it is proposed to purchase a number of jet planes for the Air Corps, and, if so, if he will state (a) whether fighters only will be purchased or whether a number of fighter-bombers will be provided, (b) the number of such planes to be purchased and (c) the total cost involved.

    Mr. O'Sullivan Mr. O'Sullivan

    33

    Mr. O'Sullivan: Three jet planes of the Mk. 55 Vampire type, including equipment and manuals, at a total cost of £146,829, are at present on order and are due for delivery about next June. An expenditure estimated at £13,000 is also proposed in respect of spare parts for these three aircraft; [33] (a) these aircraft will be used for fighter operational training purposes. It is not proposed to purchase fighter-bombers; (b) nine jet planes of the MK. 55 Vampire type are required to equip one training squadron. The purchase of further jet aircraft is under active consideration; (c) the total estimated cost of nine aircraft with necessary spare parts is £480,000.
    There are a lot more debates of interest if you just search via www.oireachtas-debates.gov.ie

    What I found particularly interesting was how the Air Corps were viewed for a time in the 50's as primarily serving as a pilot training organisation for Aer Lingus.
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